Thursday, July 15, 2010

Orchid Background Final

I grew up in a close and large extended family. My Aunt Sal was known as quite the eccentric but she truly had a heart of gold. Over a period of time, she took each of her nephews and nieces on an individual trip "downtown" to wander about a few stores and eat at the Woolworth's lunch counter. She would also have a small sum of money for each of us, to buy Mom a gift. I selected a little ceramic plaque that I am now so very much reminded of when I see this painting.

I reworked the bamboo repeatedly with tracing paper and a few times on the painting. Once drawn in, I lightened it up with a kneadable eraser. I'm not sure that I followed the spirit of the exercise, perhaps more closely followed if with a brush and wash or something or other--but, I did follow my spirit. :-)


  1. I SO admire your background choice- I am immediately drawn to the simplicity and yet richness of this piece- from your subject choice to its composition, you have achieved a harmonious balance that works beautifully to my eye. Like Marcia, I was hoping you would not feel compelled to make the background dark and/or intricate but I did not want to sway you so I kept quiet trusting that you would find the perfect solution and boy, did you ever!
    ~ gretchen

  2. Gretchen, thank you for such a wonderful comment! :-)

    I really did want a subtle background and must admit that I picked up that graphite idea from Val's work.

  3. Love it: the orchid says "Look at me, look at ME" and quite right too. (It would be a plant's dream come true to know that the rest of the world was lightened graphite by comparison with its blooms.)

    (Funny that the next part of the exercise was indeed to think about backgrounds. Looking forward to photo of orchid mounted, framed, hung on wall.)

    I also like the radiating diagonals and the implicit comparison between the woody jointed structure of the bamboo and the fleshy delicacy of the petals, the green springiness of the stem.

    Great comments from your instructor further up, I saw -- and I was interested by your feeling that 'element-by-element' has been preferable. For botany illustrations especially, where it's at least partly a self-contained still-life exercise, it makes sense to me.

    So impressed by this exercise and your results. And I'm telling you again: your knack with petal texture is something else :-)

    Agog for the next exercise!

  4. Katharine, thank you so kindly for your comments. :-)

    You know, it's getting so all I want to do is paint, draw, and read about it.

    Okay, it's time to take another try at that flower spike.